Jâ€™Adore Rue 14.
Greetings, Borderstanis. Iâ€™m sure many of you have been to Rue 14, a lovely clothing boutique nestled in the heart of Borderstan 14th Street just above S). If you havenâ€™t yet, Iâ€™m going to give you several reasons why you should.Â And if you have dropped by, Iâ€™m going to give you even more reasons why you need to go back. (See Rue 14 Style: Forward Thinking from Cecile Oreste, October 2010.)
As much as we love the District, can we all agree that D.C. is not most customer-service oriented city? I call it the “CVS effect,” which somehow trickles into restaurants, clothing stores, bars, coffee shops, etc. I certainly know that Iâ€™ve walked out of many an establishment wondering why my sunny disposition was met with indifference and/or mild scornÂ â€” not to mention outright incompetence.
Lucky for us, Rue 14 has none of that. Youâ€™ll find that folks there are friendly, attentive and knowledgeable, i.e. the holy trinity when it comes to consumerism. The boutique is run by Jiwon and her husband, Andrew, both of whom have quite a pedigree in fashion (so they totally know what theyâ€™re talking about). On their staff is Jeff, who has a savant-esque knowledge of denim. Heâ€™s the Districtâ€™s premiere Denimologist. (No, that isnâ€™t a word, but it needs to be).
More Parisian Influence
Whatâ€™s really exciting, especially for someone like whoâ€™s been frequenting Rue 14 for years, are the upcoming renovations. According to Andrew, theyâ€™re going to have a stronger Parisian influence (appropriate, given the name) and an old-world charm.
Thereâ€™s already evidence of the evolving aesthetic in the store. Yes, thatâ€™s an actual vintage suitcase adorned with stickers of exotic locales and airlines that donâ€™t exist anymore, e.g. Pan Am. It evokes an era when traveling was, once-upon-a-time, a classy affair; not the sweat pant-filled, croc-wearing chore it is now.
Similarly, Rue 14 has been raising the bar for fashion in the District for the past couple of years by carrying designers such as Geren Ford (classic dresses), Gant (preppy, tailored chic), Amanda Uprichard (feminine and flirty dresses, perfect for Spring), Life After Denim (affordable, comfortable, plaid shirts), Ever (laid back, California-inspired casual wear), J.Brand (possibly one of the best denim designers out there… check out the Kane fit, which is the slim straight cut and currently on Sale, my favorite four-letter word natch), and Naked and Famous (great jeans and even better oxford shirts).
Theyâ€™ve recently started carrying Edwin, a denim line thatâ€™s known as the Leviâ€™s of Japan. I was particularly impressed with the used wash, which is a much softer version of selvedge denim. Donâ€™t get me wrong; selvedge is amazing.
But thereâ€™s something nice about not having to wait a year to break in high-end denim, especially as the warmer months are approaching. What really brought a smile to my face is that Rue 14 has recently started carrying Happy Socks, which are basically the best socks ever. Comfortable; stylish; fun. Canâ€™t go wrong.
April 8: Smooth Ambler
And because shopping and imbibing go hand in hand like chocolate and peanut butter, Rue 14 will be hosting a sophisticated soiree on the evening of Friday, April 8. The sponsor is Smooth Ambler, an artisan, small-batch distillery that brews vodka, gin, bourbon and whiskey. Youâ€™ll be able to check out the new aesthetic and designers Iâ€™ve mentioned. And youâ€™ll get a free gift with your purchase.
Before I sign off, I have to say that I can never leave this store without making a purchase. This time around it was a gray military jacket from Life After Denim thatâ€™s perfect for this unpredictable spring weather and a chambray shirt from Gant thatâ€™s so comfortable I could sleep in it.
Thatâ€™s it for me this week, folks. Have a terrific weekend.